Audience responses to the physical appearance of television newsreaders

Mitra, B., Webb, M. & Wolfe, C.(2014) ‘Audience responses to the physical appearance of television newsreaders’ Participations, Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, Vol. 11(2), pp.45-57

Summary:
Women still face much greater pressure than men about their physical appearance and
body image. How they look matters, especially with regards to newsreaders and
broadcasters. In this study, we investigate the opinions of those who watch television news
in relation to the appearance of news presenters through the use of 20 semi-structured
interviews with female and male viewers and 167 questionnaires.

We found that audiences were well aware that female newsreaders may have been chosen for their appearance and many of our respondents thought that this was rather unjust. The audience felt that male newsreaders were credible whether they had grey hair or were young and good looking.

Where women were glamorised they were often belittled and trivialised in terms of
intelligence and abilities. We found that audiences were more interested in the actual news
than newsreaders’ appearance and some respondents wanted more diverse
representations.

Link to the Journal article